Saturday, June 25, 2016

Filling in Polly Jeffers' date of death

Photo by Carl Nollen
Writing about Marion County's Jeffers family yesterday, I said I didn't know when Mary Ann "Polly" Jeffers, widow of Crudeup and the last of the first Iowa generation of this family, died. That was because her date of death had never been inscribed on the tombstone she shares in Indiana Chapel Cemetery with her husband.

Karen Cowles Kester promptly provided that missing piece of information by sharing via Facebook a copy of Polly's obituary, published in The Oskaloosa Herald of Aug. 7, 1913. So now we know that Polly died on Aug. 13, 1913, at the home of her son, Andrew, in Buxton --- that legendary mining town in far northern Monroe County where racial harmony prevailed early in the 20th century.

I suspect that Karen found the obituary by searching more efficiently than I had earlier since I was able to find it there myself --- once I knew exactly what I was looking for. So thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Here's how the obituary reads --- and the original contains a few typographical errors that I've corrected and at least one factual error, which I've noted:

Mrs. Polly Jeffers, the oldest member of one of the pioneer families of Iowa, passed away about 4 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, 1913. She died at the home of her son, Andrew Jeffers, in Buxton, where she had resided for the past year.

The deceased was born in Orange county, Indiana, on Dec. 5, 1835 (tombstone inscription reads Dec. 25). Thus at the time of her death she was 78 years, 7 months and 29 days of age. She came to the state of Iowa in 1848. At the age of sixteen years she became a member of the Indiana Chapel. She was a very active member of that church for about forty-five years. Then the family moved to Knoxville, and she changed her membership to the M.E. church, of which she was a member at the time of her death.

Mrs. Polly Jeffers was married to Mr. Jeffers on March 6th, 1868 (Marion County records date the marriage to March 17, 1858). She lived in Marion county until 1890. They family then moved to Lucas county. She left there and came to Knoxville in 1895. Her husband died in 1900. Since that time she has made her home with relatives. There are four children, three sons and one daughter, who survive. They are Andrew Jeffers of Buxton, Simeon and W.E. Jeffers of Des Moines, Ia.; and Mrs. Martha More, of Winterset, Iowa. She is also survived by two brothers and one sister. Mrs. Jeffers leaves a host of fiends who share with the family in their bereavement. Funeral and burial at Indiana Chapel at 8 a.m. Aug. 5th, funeral party leaving Buxton.


Andrew Jeffers had opened a restaurant in Buxton prior to 1905, according to Chariton newspapers, and his brother, Simeon, home-based in Chariton, went there frequently to help out. After the Buxton mines closed and the town faded, Andrew joined his brothers in Des Moines. The Martha More, of Winterset, listed in the obituary as a survivor, was the widow of John Kay, who remarried twice after his death in 1906.

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